Are you the type of person who gets super pissed about online spoilers, raising your voice and fist toward the heavens simultaneously to shout “WHHHYYYYYYYY?” every time you stumble across a plot point from a show you’re not quite caught up on? Have you fired off profanity-filled emails to the general email accounts of pop culture websites because you were able to deduce important information about the previous night’s episode of HBO’s hit drama Dragons of Nudity Murder from a headline or teaser picture? Do you send furious tweets to the masses when your timeline fills up with real-time updates from one show while you’re watching another? Well, if Google ends up doing anything with a patent they just filed, you may be in luck.
That’s right, Google is looking into a spoiler prevention program. From the patent application:
According to one innovative aspect of the subject matter described in this disclosure, a system for processing content spoilers includes: a controller for receiving activity data describing an activity performed by a first user and content data published by a second user; a progress module for determining a first progress stage for a subject associated with the activity based at least in part on the activity data; a determination module for determining whether the content data includes a spoiler for the first user based at least in part on the first progress stage; a warning module for obscuring the content data published by the second user from the first user responsive to the determination that the content data includes the spoiler, the warning module generating a spoiler warning indicating that the obscured content data includes the spoiler; and a presentation module for providing the spoiler warning to the first user.
As far as I can tell, that paragraph is an incredibly convoluted way of saying, “We’ll track everything you do to determine how far along you are in your stories, and we’ll use that to warn you and block out text that reveals anything beyond that point.” On one hand, uh, that seems a little invasive for a product that provides such a silly service in the grand scheme of things. On the other hand, Google probably has all that information and more about you anyway, so why not put it to use, I guess?
Anyway, there’s no guarantee this patent will lead to anything, and it doesn’t specify exactly what content/sites will be part of the filtering, but if it does work out like it appears it might all you’ll have to worry about spoiler-wise is your stupid real-life friends, family, and co-workers. A great day for society.